UNION — For the second consecutive year, the Rippy’s Dixie Youth Majors baseball team (ages 9-10) are the City Champions for their division.
The nine- and 10-year-olds on the Rippy’s team went undefeated throughout the regular season and only lost once during the double-elimination playoffs for the championship.
The players on the team were Koheen “Bam Bam” Minick, Ja’Tayvious “Hard Rock” Parham. Nathaniel Davis, Jamarion “JJ” Stevens, Ja’Raylin “Big Man” Gregory, Zion “Z” Eison, Dylan Davis, Bryant Whitlock, Quinton Jones, Dakota “Fabio” Prince, Tyger Suggs, Cameren Ownes, Levi Edwards and Adrian Jeter. The head coach of the team was Walt Whitlock, Sr., and assistant coaches were Tracy Minick, Kent Suggs, Kenny Thompson and Walt Whitlock, Jr.
Coach Walt Whitlock, Sr. said this year’s team was a great group of guys.
“We went back through the draft, and we had some good ball players,” Whitlock said. “They had good chemistry — they all played well together.”
Whitlock has coached the Rippy’s team for the past four years, and he said for the past three years, the team’s record is 49-3.
“It was a good season,” Whitlock said. “We had some close games.”
During the regular season, the Rippy’s team defeated the Founders team — coached by TJ Glenn — in a close game, with a final score of 1-0. During the double-elimination playoffs, Founders defeated Rippy’s by a score of 6-3. When the two teams faced off again for the championship, Rippy’s got the victory with a final score of 5-2.
Whitlock said good pitching and good defense is what carried the team this year. The pitchers this year were Bryant Whitlock, Koheen “Bam Bam” Minick and Ja’Raylin “Big Man” Gregory.
Whitlock praised his coaching staff, whose duties at practice were divided. For example, one coach may lead batting practice while another leads pitching practice and another leads infield practice.
Whitlock also said Rippy’s is the best sponsor he has ever had.
“Mrs. (Barbara) Rippy goes beyond the call of duty,” he said. “She does everything for us, and I couldn’t ask for more. She loves the kids, and even when she can’t come to games, she keeps up with the team.”
When the team won the city championship, Coach Whitlock was doused with a cooler of ice water, but he said he still felt warm on the inside.
“It’s heartwarming to see the kids who had little tears of joy on their face, and Mrs. Rippy was right there in the middle of all of it,” Whitlock said.